A FORMER Bendigo resident and his family have been caught up in the protests happening across the United States.
The demonstrations started after unarmed black man George Floyd was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
Protests broke out in Minneapolis, before spreading to more than 30 other cities across the United States, including New York and Los Angeles.
Former Bendigo resident Gavin Wilkinson lives with his young family in Costa Mesa, about 80km south-east of Los Angeles.
He said he received a message from authorities on Monday that said the city was under a strict curfew.
Mr Wilkinson said he heard protesters were damaging property and looting stores about two kilometres away from his home.
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"I don't think this is anything quite like what we have experienced," he said.
"I personally haven't witnessed anything - I've just heard sirens, helicopters, and explosions of some sort."
Mr Wilkinson said while the demonstrations had started in protest of racism and police brutality, he was concerned some protesters were working in self-interest.
"My opinion is they've lost the original cause or reasons for what they were protesting," he said.
"They could put these police officers on trial and people would keep doing what they are doing.
"I personally will never understand looting or burning things. I totally understand the right to protest but I don't believe the protest is taken seriously when you destroy property and bash people."
But Mr Wilkinson said there were evidently issues in the United States that needed to be addressed.
"There are some racial tensions simmering along that don't always rear their head," he said.
"Racism is not acceptable at all but there are some people who will proudly stand there and say what they want.
"I think that's because with the current government, there's President Trump who just says what comes to mind. There's no real filter.
"I think that creates an atmosphere where you can say and do whatever you want.
"The times have changed. Normally a politician would be held accountable, but there's no accountability."
Mr Wilkinson said he was concerned about the mass gatherings of protesters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 100,000 people have died from coronavirus in the United States.
"A lot of the protesters I have seen have not been wearing masks," Mr Wilkinson said. "They don't seem to be worried about getting together with others.
"It worries me. I hate to think what this will be like in two months or when winter hits."
The protests across the United States have passed the one-week mark, but Mr Wilkinson said there doesn't appear to be an end in sight.
"The government and the cities will apply more pressure to stop it and the troublemakers will fight back even harder," he said.
"I don't see it coming to a peaceful end anytime soon."
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